Morgantown’s Sister Cities Commission (MSSC) is part of a much larger network that falls under the auspices of Sister Cities International. It involves more than 2500 communities in 126 countries of the world. The mission of the Sister Cities program, and the MSSC, is to “promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation – one individual, one community at a time.”
The City of Morgantown and the MSSC strive to develop relationships with places and then extend hospitality to visitors through programs that encourage the entire community to become involved in citizen diplomacy and help Morgantown develop as a global community. The program strives to promote friendship, goodwill, and cooperation through cultural exchanges between different places.
|George Lies, WVU||(term exp. 5/31/19)|
|Helene Friedberg||(term exp. 5/31/17)|
|Elizabeth Finklea||(term exp. 5/31/18)|
|Katherine Wilson||(term exp. 5/31/17)|
|Brian Gardner||(term exp. 5/31/17)|
|Dr. Ana Casanova||(term exp. 5/31/18)|
|Lola Contreras||(term exp. 5/31/18)|
|Nancy Ganz, Council Rep.||(term exp. 5/31/17)|
|Alex Stockdale||term indefinite|
Morgantown’s Sister City – Guanajuato, Mexico
Currently, Morgantown has one Sister City. Guanajuato is a colonial gold and silver mining city in central Mexico, about 200 miles north of Mexico City in the State of Guanajuato. The city contains the University of Guanajuato and has a population of approximately 100,000 people. West Virginia University and the University of Guanajuato have enjoyed a long relationship, with many students completing study abroad experiences between the two universities. This academic relationship of more than 20 years led to the establishment of the formal municipal relationship that now links the two cities and involves the broader community in cultural and economic as well as educational exchanges. An agreement between the two cities was signed in 2008, and in 2010 the City of Morgantown created the MSCC. Three key areas for program development are tourism and economic development, the arts, and youth programs. Delegations from each city have visited their sister city, and Youth Ambassadors from the two cities also have exchanged visits in recent years. The youth stayed with volunteer host families, attended language classes, and attended cultural events.
In 2009, William Byrne, 6th Ward Councilor, visited Guanajuato and presented the City of Morgantown proclamation to their Mayor.
Slide Presentation made by Councilman William Byrne on visit to Guanajuato.
Morgantown’s Friendship City – Xuzhou, China
The City of Morgantown established a “Sister Cities” relationship with Xuzhou, Quanshan District, in China’s Jiangsu Province in 2016, after holding a “Friendship City” status since 2012. Xuzhou is in east central China, about 400 miles south of Beijing. The urban city has a population of about 3,400,000. Coal mining and higher education form part of the economic base of both Xuzhou and Morgantown, and the area is the birthplace of the Han culture in China. Visitors from both cities traveled to their counterpart, and more cultural and economic exchanges are planned for the future. As these countries develop further ties in the global economy, the cities of Morgantown and Xuzhou, Quanshan District, can find new ways to add meaning to these global relations on a local level through cultural, economic, and educational exchanges. More than 200 Chinese students already attend West Virginia University, and Chinese language skills are offered in Monongalia County schools. It is hoped that Chinese residents in Morgantown will work with the MSSC to develop programs that highlight the importance of cross-cultural relationships for the benefit of the entire community.
In 2012, delegates from Xuzhou visited Morgantown and signed the Friendship City Proclamation with its Chief and top advisors. A Xuzhou Delegation also visited in May of 2017.
Friendship City Xuzhou Delegation Visits Morgantown (Facebook photo album)